This summer, make the most of it.
While you have time off from academic and extracurricular school activities, fill your free time with beneficial projects. These will give you a head start on your next year and benefit you the rest of your life.
Not to be overly fatalistic, but taking advantage of youth and time is so important to Muslims, that Prophet Muhammad said to make use of “five before five.”
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”
This hadith gives important advice to us to help us understand the fleeting nature of youth, health, and time. It’s best to make use of our youthful energy and enthusiasm before poor health, family obligations, work, and other issues get in the way.
We also need to work our hardest and rack up as many golden points for good deeds as possible. The best way to do this is to complete important beneficial tasks that will help us in this life and the next.
Here are a few ideas of things to do with your free time this summer.
Intern or Volunteer
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, you need look no further than businesses right in your own community.
There are a few ways to find opportunities. You can have your parents ask around in their networks, talk to teachers, or ask business owners outright. You can also take matters into your own hands and advertise or announce your intention at your local masjid or community center. Basically, let everyone know you’re looking for work, volunteering, and internship opportunities this summer.
Match your volunteering to your goals
Find a position that is in line with what you plan to study in high-school, college, or university.
- If you’re hoping to be a graphic designer or engineer, find a local web designer or web developer you can job-shadow for a few weeks in return for a letter of recommendation.
- If you want to be a lawyer – volunteer with your nearest CAIR office or other human rights organization to get an on-the-ground taste of what it’s like to work there.
- If you are interested in going into the medical field – volunteer at a local medical clinic, crisis center, or dental office. You can both help those in need and also lighten the administrative load for these professionals.
- If you plan to pursue a degree in business, communications, or public relations – try volunteering at your local radio station, public television station, or library.
When you start looking for opportunities, you’ll find that many local organizations have rolling openings for volunteers and interns. Many also make it easy to apply online.
You also can find hundreds of other non-profit volunteer opportunities by searching the Idealist platform for local, national, international, in-person, and remote postings.
Two tips of advice:
- Before applying, read all instructions thoroughly and always provide all the requested information and documents with your application.
- Even if the position doesn’t ask for a cover letter – include one anyways. Use the cover letter to introduce yourself and explain why you would make a great addition to the organization’s team.
Make some fast cash
Look for business listings through your local Craigslist or jobs portals. Check message boards for job openings. Or just make your own opportunities and speak directly to owners or staff at your favorite businesses. Show how passionate you are for their business and brand. If you’re a well-known or a frequent customer, managers will be much more likely to give you a job.
Again, use the cover letter to your advantage when handing over your resume to the manger for consideration.
If you’re only looking for part-time or seasonal work, make sure you let management know ahead of time – it may sway their decision knowing that you’re not in need of full-time work. If you want to stop working when school starts up again in the fall, say so.
Start a business
Higher education isn’t the only way to get ahead in life and make a living. You can also go into business for yourself.
Do you have a brilliant idea, special talent, or needed skill you can share with your community? Start a small business and see how far you can get with it! Anything that you do moderately better than others can be turned into a thriving business.
Have a unique product idea? Launch a crowd-funding campaign on LaunchGood to bring it to the world. Check out these tips from Entrepreneur for launching a successful campaign. Then network with influencers and market the campaign to make it a success!
Launch a fundraiser
Not interested in starting a business or product, but still want to run a fundraising campaign? Put together a fundraiser for a cause you feel passionately about. Human rights, animal rights, or even environmental activism are all up for grabs.
Connect with other organizations already working along similar lines and pitch them your ideas. You can also set out to craft your own fundraising project that will benefit communities in this life, and you in the hereafter.
Don’t let another summer pass you by! Take advantage of your youth and energy before it fades away with the passing years and have a busy and productive summer of service.